Author Topic: Survey Shows Most Evangelicals Don’t Understand the Core Beliefs of Their Faith  (Read 2900 times)

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Offline CarbShark

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It’s only relatively recently that the Catholic Church stopped doing all its masses in Latin.

They never expected the congregation to really know the full doctrine.

All Christians pick and choose which part of the doctrine they accept, they have to because there are so many internal contradictions you can’t accept them all.


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Offline Ah.hell

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It’s only relatively recently that the Catholic Church stopped doing all its masses in Latin.
Only in comparison to the age of the Catholic Church.  They've been doing vernacular mass for at least 50 years.  But that's a minor nit.


Is anyone really surprised that fundies don't generally understand their own doctrine?

Offline CarbShark

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It’s only relatively recently that the Catholic Church stopped doing all its masses in Latin.
Only in comparison to the age of the Catholic Church.  They've been doing vernacular mass for at least 50 years.  But that's a minor nit.


Is anyone really surprised that fundies don't generally understand their own doctrine?

Seems like yesterday to some of us.

No surprise here. In fact I'd say they often interpret their own doctrine to mean the opposite of what was intended.

Wealthy Christians? Really?
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Offline daniel1948

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Seems like yesterday to some of us.

Yep, sure does. Good old John XXIII



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My impression is that the Catholic Church is much better about teaching its catechism to its youth (at least those that go through confirmation) than many other Christian sects.  That said, I’ve met a lot of Catholics who were unaware of the tenets of their own faith, too.
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Offline arthwollipot

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See, here's the thing.

... they are the core things that members are supposed to believe.

According to whom? In my time I've seen so many atheists say "this is what Christians should be believing", and ignoring what they actually do believe. Who says what Christians (or members of any other religion, really) should be believing, and why should atheists have any authority on the subject whatsoever?
In the case of Catholicism, according to the church.

I presume most distinct sects will have some kind of doctrine of how they differ from others.
Generally thats what religion is- a way of stating "This group is for people who believe x"

Catholicism is only one branch of Christianity. Granted, it's the largest, but it's just one. It and the Orthodox branches, and some of the older Protestant branches such as Anglicanism, have the kind of top-down hierarchy that can dictate dogma. The many, many, many Protestant branches usually don't have this kind of top-down control over their beliefs.

Additionally, the OP and the title of the thread refers to Evangelicals - which almost exclusively refers to non-hierarchical branches. So again, I'm not sure who's deciding what is a "core belief".
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Offline haudace

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This is anecdotal evidence but most masses I have attended and people I have debated have not read Deuteronomy or Leviticus in full.

Offline daniel1948

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This is anecdotal evidence but most masses I have attended and people I have debated have not read Deuteronomy or Leviticus in full.

Catholics have been permitted to read the Bible since John XXIII and Vatican II. But I don't think they are encouraged to do so. (By the Church hierarchy.)
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This is anecdotal evidence but most masses I have attended and people I have debated have not read Deuteronomy or Leviticus in full.

Catholics have been permitted to read the Bible since John XXIII and Vatican II. But I don't think they are encouraged to do so. (By the Church hierarchy.)

Catholics were never forbidden to read the Bible.  I think you e fallen victim to some anti-Catholic propaganda.  It’s true that the Church does not place the kind of emphasis on the reading of scripture that Protestant churches do, and it teaches that the Bible is a complex work which requires education to understand and discourages individual interpretation as a substitutes for church teachings.  And it is also true that the Church discourages use of unauthorized translations, many of which have strong heterodox influences.  But the idea that Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible is, as far as I can tell, a lie that Protestants have used to stir up anti-Catholic sentiment.
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Offline arthwollipot

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This is anecdotal evidence but most masses I have attended and people I have debated have not read Deuteronomy or Leviticus in full.

Catholics have been permitted to read the Bible since John XXIII and Vatican II. But I don't think they are encouraged to do so. (By the Church hierarchy.)

Catholics were never forbidden to read the Bible.  I think you e fallen victim to some anti-Catholic propaganda.  It’s true that the Church does not place the kind of emphasis on the reading of scripture that Protestant churches do, and it teaches that the Bible is a complex work which requires education to understand and discourages individual interpretation as a substitutes for church teachings.  And it is also true that the Church discourages use of unauthorized translations, many of which have strong heterodox influences.  But the idea that Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible is, as far as I can tell, a lie that Protestants have used to stir up anti-Catholic sentiment.

Part of it was that the Bible was in Latin, and Mass was said in Latin, and most lay folk never had the opportunity to learn Latin. If someone did have the wherewithal to be taught Latin, I don't believe that there was any particular reason why they weren't supposed to read the Bible, but really only the Church taught the language. So while it wasn't necessarily forbidden by doctrine, it was effectively forbidden in practice.
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Online The Latinist

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This is anecdotal evidence but most masses I have attended and people I have debated have not read Deuteronomy or Leviticus in full.

Catholics have been permitted to read the Bible since John XXIII and Vatican II. But I don't think they are encouraged to do so. (By the Church hierarchy.)

Catholics were never forbidden to read the Bible.  I think you e fallen victim to some anti-Catholic propaganda.  It’s true that the Church does not place the kind of emphasis on the reading of scripture that Protestant churches do, and it teaches that the Bible is a complex work which requires education to understand and discourages individual interpretation as a substitutes for church teachings.  And it is also true that the Church discourages use of unauthorized translations, many of which have strong heterodox influences.  But the idea that Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible is, as far as I can tell, a lie that Protestants have used to stir up anti-Catholic sentiment.

Part of it was that the Bible was in Latin, and Mass was said in Latin, and most lay folk never had the opportunity to learn Latin. If someone did have the wherewithal to be taught Latin, I don't believe that there was any particular reason why they weren't supposed to read the Bible, but really only the Church taught the language. So while it wasn't necessarily forbidden by doctrine, it was effectively forbidden in practice.

Authorized English translations of the vulgate were available since the sixteenth century. The liturgy was in Latin and, as I said before, bible reading, especially by those without significant education, was not encouraged (and was often even discouraged), but I don’t think it’s in any way true that Catholics were forbidden from reading the Bible.

That said, it is certainly true that Vatican II changed the relationship between the laity and the Bible.  I’m nit trying to deny that.  But I don’t think we should be perpetuating what is at best hyperbole and at worst active anti-Catholic propaganda.

I would add for clarity that both sides of my extended family are mostly mainline Protestant and I was raised without religion, so I have no personal stake in this aside from concern for the truth.
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Offline Mr. Beagle

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This is anecdotal evidence but most masses I have attended and people I have debated have not read Deuteronomy or Leviticus in full.

Catholics have been permitted to read the Bible since John XXIII and Vatican II. But I don't think they are encouraged to do so. (By the Church hierarchy.)

Catholics were never forbidden to read the Bible.  I think you e fallen victim to some anti-Catholic propaganda.  It’s true that the Church does not place the kind of emphasis on the reading of scripture that Protestant churches do, and it teaches that the Bible is a complex work which requires education to understand and discourages individual interpretation as a substitutes for church teachings.  And it is also true that the Church discourages use of unauthorized translations, many of which have strong heterodox influences.  But the idea that Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible is, as far as I can tell, a lie that Protestants have used to stir up anti-Catholic sentiment.

My experience is anecdotal, but I took two classes on scripture from an "escaped Jesuit" and Jesus Seminar scholar in the 1990s. He was still a "good Catholic" with, as I recall, 5 kids at the time, but told about how he had to read the Bible under the covers with a flashlight as a kid because the priest told his parents he was too young to be reading scripture without oversight.

He had attended a private seminary school since early in his youth and came close to ordination before, at a late age by his admission, "finding out about girls" and so he went the married academic route instead.

I think, like the Mormons, there has been some attempted historical control over when and how devotees read scripture. Deviating from this often causes trouble, so it is discouraged.
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Offline CarbShark

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See, here's the thing.

... they are the core things that members are supposed to believe.

According to whom? In my time I've seen so many atheists say "this is what Christians should be believing", and ignoring what they actually do believe. Who says what Christians (or members of any other religion, really) should be believing, and why should atheists have any authority on the subject whatsoever?
In the case of Catholicism, according to the church.

I presume most distinct sects will have some kind of doctrine of how they differ from others.
Generally thats what religion is- a way of stating "This group is for people who believe x"

Catholicism is only one branch of Christianity. Granted, it's the largest, but it's just one. It and the Orthodox branches, and some of the older Protestant branches such as Anglicanism, have the kind of top-down hierarchy that can dictate dogma. The many, many, many Protestant branches usually don't have this kind of top-down control over their beliefs.

Additionally, the OP and the title of the thread refers to Evangelicals - which almost exclusively refers to non-hierarchical branches. So again, I'm not sure who's deciding what is a "core belief".

Most, if not all, evangelical denominations have conventions or similar denominational where these things are defined. And this is what often leads to denominations breaking up, when they disagree about some significant or insignificant part of their doctrine.

The core beliefs are always based on the New Testament and always include the key teachings of Christ from the gospels. That's what the survey shows most evangelicals don't understand.
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in reading nate silver fighting with people who dont know they dont know statistics, I am beginning to think this is not a religion problem.
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Offline Shibboleth

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This isn't really surprising and from a salvation point of view it really doesn't matter. In Christianity salvation isn't dependent on what you know and do not know. This is why in Catholicism it wasn't all that big of a deal that the Mass was in Latin or most of the Divine Liturgy for that matter. It was far more important to receive the sacraments. Granted, Evangelicals reject most of the sacraments but the core theology is still the same that salvation is not dependent on understanding of dogma. Sola Gracia.
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